Tag Archives: foursquare

Using Social Media to Connect with Teens

It’s easy for any library to have a social media presence these days.  Translating that into success with serving a teen population?  Well, that’s another thing…

Be Yourself

The discussion of personal and professional profiles always comes up.  I didn’t want to have two profiles (done it before, hated it) so I had to make a decision: add teens to my own accounts or hide myself far, far away.  I went with what some may consider to be the unpopular route.  I added them to my own accounts.  I feel like it has made a world of difference.

I am happy to share the real Justin with the teens that I serve.  I have nothing bad to hide and all good to share.  Letting them in on my “personal” life has actually allowed me to establish a deeper connection with them.  For example, when one teen found that him and I shared an interest in The Mars Volta, he came running in the library one day in disbelief.  He was excited that I was into the same music as him.  He now comes in a few times each week and we spend a good fifteen minutes or so talking about music.

This is just one of countless examples of how opening up my personal social networking accounts to teens has made it easier for me to connect with them and provide them with quality service.  In the end, it makes you more of a real person to them.  They become your friend and they trust you.  The upside to this?  They’re using the library…and they love it.

Stay Active

There’s nothing that looks sadder than an abandoned profile.  If you’re going to have a public account, make sure you update it with the most relevant information.  Don’t just create the profile and let it fester and rot away.  An up to date profile will show your public that you care about connecting with them.  One of the golden rules I try to always stick to is replying to comments or posts.  Even if it is a simple hello or a comment on a link, say something back!  Conversation and interaction is one of the reasons why we’re all using social media.

Educate Them

Myspace is dead.  It lost its appeal when showing off how (badly) one could customize their page with videos, gifs, and pictures won out over connecting and sharing with others.  We can learn something from this.

Media 21 is a project created by Buffy Hamilton, a school librarian at Creekview High School in Canton, GA.  The goal of the Media 21 Project is to “expand teens’ information literacy skills by introducing them tools for constructing a personal learning network and to posit research as a real world activity for learning, not an isolated unit of study.”

The idea behind Media 21 blows my mind.  Taking a moment or two each day to educate the teens using my library about social media allows me to better serve them as a librarian.  They understand that social media is a real and credible way to interact, share and create.  It helps me be the best librarian I can be for them.  I know what they want, and they know I’m always here to listen.

Buffy further adds: “I wanted to them to learn how to use social media tools for constructing and sharing knowledge as well as to start thinking about ways social media can be an authoritative source of knowledge”

Right on, sister.

You can read more about the Media 21 project here

Many thanks to School Librarian extraordinaire Buffy Hamilton for her quotes and guidance.

Give Stuff Away

I love what they’re doing over at the Darien Library with FourSquare.  As a matter a fact, it got me thinking.  With the tips  feature, we’re able to create our own little mini scavenger hunts for teens.  I learned just how excited teens get whyen it comes to scavenger hunts when I hosted an all night teen lock in at my library last year.  The scavenger hunt was one of the biggest events of the night.  By offering daily scavenger hunts with rewards, teens will have more reason to come into the library, check in, and complete the daily tip.  You’ve got them inside the library and they’re actively participating in a library program.  Win!

(On a related note, I highly suggest checking out this excellent post by David Lee King.  “Personal Accounts, Work Accounts – What To Do?”)

-Justin Hoenke, Tame The Web Contributor

foursquare @ Darien Library

foursquareCheck-ins, badges, and becoming mayor have nothing to do with libraries and everything to do with the geolocation game foursquare…. well it did until some of the librarians here at Darien began hijacking our own venue (Darien Library).  We began checking in every time we came into work, closely monitoring who among us was crowned Mayor of Darien Library.  Possibly making snide comments to our new ruler – of course in good fun.

Then it dawned on us: Why are we checking in all the time when we could offer up this service to our users?

We began looking a little closer at it, finding out how we could build a whimsical program out of it that, yes, would be a little silly, but also potentially informative and rewarding.  foursquare allows users to add to-do’s to venues for individual use and tips for others who check-in.  What tips could we offer?

To our benefit, our cadre of staff foursquare users represents pretty much every department in the library: User Experience (UX), Teens, Technology, Knowledge and Learning Services (KLS), and Children’s.  Together we thought of 3 to 5 tips we could each offer up from our department.  For example, Teens has video games, UX puts together some great programming, KLS has a fabulous Bloomberg Terminal, and so on.  So when we thought of ideas and potential hurdles we all funneled them into our Google Wave and then filtered the good ideas off to the venue as tips.

We were left wondering about incentives.  foursquare is like twitter was in the beginning, popular for early adopters but seemingly useless for the rest of the population.  We wanted to invite our users to try a new technology, to not worry about the “silliness” of it at the beginning.  To do this we needed our incentive.  Because we can track who becomes Mayor of Darien Library we thought it best to give out a prize:  a fancy tote bag (a $25 value!).  Become Mayor, get a tote bag.  It’s that simple.

We’re going to evaluate this program over a two month period and see how it increases check-ins to our venue.  If we see it’s popular we’re going to think of other incentives we can offer.  If it bombs, hey, that’s ok.  It’s quick to implement and low maintenance – and we tried something new.

This idea was thought up by these fine folks:

  • Alex Hylton, Teen and Technology Services
  • Sarah Ludwig, Teen and Technology Services and Knowledge and Learning Services
  • Gretchen Caserotti, Children’s Services
  • Erica Leone, Reader’s Advisory
  • and myself, Kyle Jones, Knowledge and Learning Services
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Kyle Jones, TTW Contributor
@thecorkboard
thecorkboard.org